Bee Swarm Update :: Cheap DIY Swarm Trap

I think maybe the bees knew that they weren’t getting enough attention on the blog and so decided to do something showy. Showy enough to get some “much deserved” press. They are like the Kim Kardashians of the farm. Honestly, I am a little ashamed to even know who that is. I blame grocery checkout magazines.

Trevor is still at work so I am doing my best to properly assess the situation and do what needs to be done. It may not be as bad as I first thought. After sitting next to Hive #2 for a few minutes, just observing, I have come to the conclusion that only half of the hive has swarmed. The fact that there is still quite a bit of activity in Hive #2 leads me to believe that they haven’t all left in the swarm. I watched multiple bees going in with bright orange pollen on their legs. And if there wasn’t a big lump of bees sitting high in the tree across the yard, I would even dare to say that there is a fairly normal amount of activity in Hive #2.

I will have to do a hive inspection to verify what is going on, if there are any bees still inside, and if there is a second queen or queen cell lingering inside Hive #2. But in the meantime, I have made and set out a swarm trap box to try to recapture the bee swarm in the tree. The swarm is about 20-25 feet off the ground so I am really depending on them coming down on their own.

There’s no need for a fancy trap box really. All you need is a big cardboard box (or one of those paper ream boxes), some tape, and a frame of wax foundation. I would have put some swarm lure in there, but for some reason I can’t find it in the freezer. That sounds about right huh?!

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1 cardboard box

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1 frame (actually you could use more if they fit) of wax foundation. You do not want comb with honey or anything else on it for a swarm trap. If you do have a swarm lure capsule, stick it in there!

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Seal that puppy up on every seam you can find; especially on the corners. You do not want any gaps for bees to squeeze through or any light coming into the box. MacGyver it and use some paper scraps to cover up even the smallest of holes that light can leak in through.

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Lastly, cut a hole in the bottom front that is slightly smaller than a quarter. I even rubbed a little beeswax on the front near the entrance for the extra smell. Then put your box up in a tree or high enough off the ground to look appealing to bees.

10 thoughts on “Bee Swarm Update :: Cheap DIY Swarm Trap

  1. This will certainly work fine. I can’t tell you how many swarms I’ve caught/trapped in cardboard boxes. During swarm season I’ll often drive around with my veil and gloves and a few frames in a cardboard box in my back seat, waiting for a swarm call. It’ll work and generally buy you a few days until you can buy/build something more permanent.

    Good luck!

    • We will be heading to the store for wood to build a more permenant hive this afternoon! We were planning to split the hives in a week or two, but I guess they had a different schedule.

      Trevor caught a swarm in town last year with nothing more than a box with a hole in it. They seem to last for a day or two and then the moisture becomes a problem. But generally you have somewhere to put them by then.

  2. You should do a DIY on building a hive! I’ve attempted a minimal amount of research and haven’t really figured it out. But I like your approach. Keep up the good work 🙂

    • We have looked into top bar hives. I really like that the bees are able to build their own comb more naturally. But, we do not like that in order to harvest honey, the comb needs to be crushed (cannot be spun in an extractor) leaving the bees to start comb from scratch.

      After some research, we discovered that Warre hives are a compromise of both the Langstroth (which we use now) and the Top Bar. We plan to convert all of our hives to Warre in the spring. It may take us all winter to build 3-4 Warre hives at the rate we’re going. 😉

  3. Newbie question……after you’ve caught your swarm, how do you get them to transfer over to your hive? I don’t keep bees, yet but plan to do so soon. I will have a Warre hive, if that helps for instruction on how to transfer the swarm. I’m trying you get myself as prepared as I can for next year. Thanks, in advance!

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